“The Tears of India” by John Spaulding

John Spaulding


My old man’s dead and my boy’s in prison.
He got pissed and climbed the razor wire fence
so he’d get shot. Only he just got cut up.
Then they put him in detention for six months.

The idea is when anyone is born
something can happen.
But it don’t.

You want to know your place
in the family tree? my old man used to say,
You’re the apple on the ground.

In the war, girls like me drew black lines
on the backs of their legs
when they couldn’t afford nylons.
Didn’t fool nobody, he said.

No use crying the tears of India,
he’d say, meanwhile the world goes on.

Remember when they found
that dead farmer floating in the river,
June bugs crawling in his hair?
Life is just a big room, he used to say,
full of ugly women.
The tears of India.

from Rattle #30, Winter 2008

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